Event Promotion and Engaging Outside Performers
The OSE produces more than 100 events annually in conjunction with student clubs, organizations, and community partners. A critical function of the office is to assist Bennington students with the logistical, planning, and safety considerations associated with executing events both on and off the Bennington campus. As it is central to the core values of a Bennington education that students serve as the driver of their college experience, in working with OSE it is never our intention to plan out your event for you, but rather to provide tools, the experience, and the perspective to help you do better work and best serve the campus community in the process. Below are some of the most common logistical questions/considerations in event planning. Please use them as a launch pad for your work and feel free to augment this with conversation and 1-on-1 planning with OSE staff whenever needed. We're here to help!
A fundamental step in event production is deciding upon the physical (and/or digital) locations you will be inhabiting. Considerations for this location include not only finding a location that provides adequate space for your needs and attendance (especially given campus COVID-19 guidelines), but also those of and including handicap accessibility, proximity to power/electrical outlets, acoustics, and overall ambience. Many campus spaces have the capacity to be reserved for events and functions, although in all instances that buildings coordinator will have the final approval based upon availability and practicality. For a complete list of available spaces and their coordinator and reservation process see the Space Reservations page. Please note: in instances where a space requires a faculty or staff sponsor for space approval, the OSE is happy to serve that role provided we have had an opportunity to review your event details beforehand.
Reserving Sound Systems (for music, guest speakers, lectures, etc.)
Because sound systems for events generally require additional consideration and equipment, a Student Event Assistant is required to oversee the setup, operation, and breakdown of all equipment. That said, and due to the additional requirement of staffing your event, a minimum of seven (7) days notice is preferred to ensure a sound system for your function. If you are unsure of what your audio needs are for an event, a meeting with Matt Scott in the OSE is strongly encouraged to determine the specifics of your request. Please email Matt directly to begin this process. If you're event is being held in spaces that have a preexisting audio system
Reserving Video Projectors and other Equipment
As OSE does not directly oversee or own video specific technology, its rental and use must be coordinated with media services. For inquiries related to projection and video, please email Media Services with an IT HelpDesk ticket outlining your request.
Food and Catering
In the hierarchy of event planning, food is often among the very first considerations, not only as a means of drawing attendance, but in affirming the integral relationship between nourishment, conversation, and community. It is exceedingly common that campus groups will use most, if not all of a club budget within a given year toward food purchases at local grocers or restaurants, offsetting that expense with Budget and Events Committee proposals when anticipated attendance dictates a particularly large purchase. In other instances, it may be desirable or even critical to work collaboratively with dining services to cater your event.
Catering through Aramark
When planning for events where expected attendance is large, or the scale of food required exceeds the time/energy a group has available to acquire/prepare it, it can be quite beneficial to take advantage of campus catering. Campus catering can provide a variety of dining options including snacks, meals, and beverages—even working off recipes you’ve provided them. Cost varies greatly, so if something like this is of interest to your group, email OSE for more information and to set up a consultation with Chef Steve and Aramark directly.
Advertising Your Event
Advertising is often the final step in an event planner’s “to do” list; however, the information it encompasses is comprised of many essentials you should have confirmed well in advance of finalizing the logistical and delegation-based elements of your event. In some way, your advertisement should ideally include some mention (or all) of the following information:
- The organizing body (club, organization, or other group)
- A brief description of what the event is
- Alternate attendance methods when applicable (Zoom, Google meet, other)
- Any needed contact information
- Any sponsorship by other campus or community organizations.
Outside of digital advertising methods such as Facebook and Instagram, the Office of Student Life and OSE also offer several campus options to help spread the word about your pending event.
The Student Event Calendar is new for Spring 2021 and serves as a direct way for Bennington students to create and advertise events in great detail within a shared google calendar. This also makes it possible to create push notifications for your phone when new events surface or you want reminders of whats coming up. You can view the student engagement calendar, and use this form to submit an event.
*Please note, all submissions are subject to review prior to being populated on this shared calendar, anticipate a 24-48 hour gap between the time you submit your event and the time it is reflected.
Tabling is the most direct way to connect with your peers. Whether you are advertising for an event, gathering input, starting a new club, fundraising, or something else entirely, tabling allows you a space to have intentional conversations with students. Tabling is most successful between 11:45 am and 1:00 pm and 5:00 to 6:30 pm. Various Tabling locations are available outside of commons. To reserve a table, send an email with your requested date/time/ location and any other needs you may have.
College Week is a digital publication distributed on Wednesday of each week to students, staff and faculty. Simply send them an email with a complete summary of your event by that preceeding Monday at noon for submission to the following week’s publication.
Coffee Hour is a publication distributed to house chairs to stimulate conversation among house communities each Sunday during Coffee Hour. Submissions to Coffee Hour are broken into sections based upon their intent (academic, co-curricular, institutional, and so on) and are generally more descriptive than College Week submissions. To submit to Coffee Hour, simply email your completed blurb, by noon on Thursday for submission to that Sunday’s publication.
Posters may be printed and hung on your behalf through the Student Life office. Simply send an email with a hi-res copy of your poster as a pdf or jpeg format and specify the number of posters you need printed, anywhere specific they need to be hung and if there are any other special details involved the printers/distributors should be aware of. A typical poster run would be 25 posters distributed about central campus buildings (houses excluded given COVID-19 precautions). Posters are printed and distributed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings so plan accordingly!
Bringing Guest Speakers and Entertainers to Campus
One of the most exciting opportunities presented to campus clubs, organizations, and motivated community members is the potential to bring in outside speakers, performers, and community partners which enrich and enliven the work that you do. The scope of this opportunity is limited only by the imagination and the budget (if required) to meet the needs of the guest and presentation itself. All that said, outside of initial email contacts with these outside entities it is always in your best interest to schedule a consultation with an OSE staff member so as to avoid any potential missteps. (Important Note: email may serve as legally binding documentation, as such you should avoid discussion of finances with any potential speaker/entertainer prior to conversation with OSE staff.) Please email the OSE with any questions or to set up a preliminary meeting regarding your guest speaker ideas.